Skin-to-eye stem cell transplantation: a visionary development

A recent study has successfully demonstrated that human skin can be altered into induced pluripotent stem cells that, when transferred into a patient’s eye, can improve vision.

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May 16, 2016

The results of a pilot study involving the use of transplanted skin stem cells to improve vision were recently presented at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO; 5 May 2016, WA, USA), with promising conclusions.

The study involved a patient who was diagnosed with advanced wet age-related macular degeneration for whom standard treatments proved ineffective. Taking a small section of skin from the patient’s arm, the researchers were able to alter the cells to form induced pluripotent stem cells. These cells were then converted into eye cells and successfully transferred to the back of the patient’s eye.

After 1 year of follow-up, researchers discovered that the patient’s vision had slightly improved and that the transplanted eye cells had survived without any adverse events observed. As the first successful skin-to-eye stem cell transplant in humans to date, the results of the pilot study demonstrate the future possibilities for stem cell transplantation and vision restoration.

– Written by Pamela Cooper

Source: The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology press release via Newswire:

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